The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is taking potential steps towards cryptocurrency regulations as it just appointed Valerie A. Szczepanik as its first ever Senior Advisor for Digital Assets and Innovation.
The Czar will be responsible for handling and supervising matters related to digital currency including ICOs and cryptos. The move hints at the efforts of the agency to expand its oversight of the digital assets, while at the same time strengthening the regulatory hold.
According to SEC chairman Jay Clayton:
“Valerie’s thought leadership in this area is recognized both within the Commission and across financial regulators in the United States and abroad…Val is the right person to coordinate our efforts in this dynamic area that has both promise and risk.”
Szczepanik has a long history with the SEC, joining in 1997 and serving in the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, as well as clerking for some Federal judges. She recently worked as Assistant Director in the Division of Enforcement’s Cyber Unit and received a J.D. from Georgetown Law. She has stated that she intends to protect Main Street investors.
In March, the SEC issued a ruling that online platforms offering trading of digital assets that meet the federal definition of a security must register with the SEC as a national securities exchange or be exempt from registration—that is, available only to sophisticated buyers.
The U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has ruled that cryptocurrencies are commodities and will be regulated by the CFTC. If digital currencies are commodities, then they will be regulated by the CFTC and investors will not receive any protection from U.S. securities laws enforced by the SEC.
Recently a part of the Consensus blockchain conference in New York, Valerie A. Szczepanik was quoted saying
“if you want (the crypto) industry to flourish, protection of investors should be at the forefront.”
The senior advisor added that she is
“excited to take on this new role in support of the SEC’s efforts to address digital assets and innovation as it carries out its mission to facilitate capital formation, promote fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and protect investors, particularly Main Street investors.”
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